Sean Pendergast

Four Houston Texans Assistant Coaches Under Most Pressure

there is plenty of pressure to go around for Demo Ryans' coaching staff.
there is plenty of pressure to go around for Demo Ryans' coaching staff. Screen grab from YouTube
Before I give all of you several hundred words in which I try to rate the amount of pressure on a bunch of NFL assistant coaches, let me acknowledge that there is a significant amount of pressure on every coach in the NFL. If you're working for a head coach with little job security, there's the chance you could get swept out the door with him. If you're working for a head coach with high job security, he is free to continuously tweak his staff as he sees fit.

The last two seasons, it's been the former situation. David Culley and Lovie Smith were never meant to be long term solutions, and thus, most of the assistants were shoved out the door with both guys. Now, here comes DeMeco Ryans, and I have little doubt he will be given the freedom to make staff adjustments in any way he sees fit.

Ryans and everyone else in the building want to win now, so significant underperformance in developing position groups shouldn't be tolerated. To that end, here are the four Texans assistants that I believe are under the most pressure to produce in 2023:

4. BEN McDANIELS, wide receivers
The younger brother of Raiders head coach (and close Nick Caserio friend) Josh McDaniels is one of the holdovers from Lovie Smith's staff. The wide receiving corps is one of the youngest position groups on the team, including two 2023 draft picks — Tank Dell and Xavier Hutchinson — that the Texans are very high on. In Bobby Slowik's offense, the receivers need to be able to block in the run game, and getting young players on point with their blocking will be a reflection on coaching.

3. JACQUES CESAIRE, defensive line
Cesaire was another holdover from Smith's staff, maybe even a surprising one, considering DeMeco Ryans' background as a defensive coordinator. I just figure Ryans may have already had people in mind on that side of the ball when he took the head coaching job. Anyway, Cesaire was in the building last season when the Texans' defensive line was a key culprit in one of the worst run defenses in league history. If they're bad again, I would imagine he'd be the first assistant to go. Also, Cesaire is Will Anderson's position coach, and with that comes pressure to develop the third overall pick in the draft.

2. JERROD JOHNSON, quarterbacks
The second overall pick in the draft was QB C.J. Stroud, and it goes without saying that the future of the franchise rests on his development. Tasked with that will be Johnson, the former Aggie in college and brief journeyman at the pro level. Johnson has a history with Stroud, having coached him at the Elite 11 in 2019, where Stroud took home MVL honors. Reportedly, the two have been inseparable throughout the offseason program, and that's a good thing.

1. CHRIS STRAUSSER, offensive line
There is no position group in which the Texans have more invested than the offensive line, from both a draft capital and salary cap standpoint. Tytus Howard, Kenyon Green, and Juice Scruggs are all former high draft picks. Shaq Mason is one of the highest paid guards in the league. Laremy Tunsil is literally the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. These are the five who will be protecting Stroud and opening holes in the run game to help take pressure off of Stroud. Strausser is the team's fourth offensive line coach in four seasons. This must stop.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast